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Study to Prevent Soldier Injury PDF Print E-mail

The Army is notorious for breaking soldiers’ bodies. But it’s now working on ways to prevent that.

 Serving in the Army often results in such permanent injuries to soldiers’ backs, necks, knees and ankles that being “broken” by the time you get out has become a well-worn cliche.

Treating those injuries is expensive both in dollars and readiness, so the Army is launching headlong into an effort to prevent the musculoskeletal wear and tear synonymous with long runs, ruck marches and jumping out of perfectly good airplanes.

In 2017, the head of the Center for Initial Military Training introduced a holistic health and fitness strategy that would focus on strength and conditioning, recovery, nutrition and other preventive measures at the soldier level.

But the Army is taking it a step further, with a massive study that will follow 4,000 trainees through their first eight weeks in the Army, measuring not only their initial muscle and bone strength, but any changes once they’ve completed basic training.

“Our goal is to basically understand who’s at risk — particularly, who’s at greatest risk ― and why, and what we can do about it,” Stephen Foulis, a research physiologist with the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, told Army Times in a May 8 phone interview.

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